Street harassment is an international scourge that compels astonishing changes in behavior for countless women frightened and grossed out by it, according to the Hollaback! International Street Harassment Survey Project conducted in conjunction with Cornell University.
The survey — which was offered and shared online and not a random sampling — revealed that 85.6% of U.S. women under age 40 reported altering routes to their intended destination to avoid harassment; 72.2% avoided certain areas or cities, and 69.8% had refrained from going out at night.
Nearly 73% said they altered their mode of transportation — taking a cab, say, as opposed to a bus or walking — to avoid being hassled and almost 8% had quit or resigned a job.
While 16,607 women were surveyed internationally in 13 different languages — making the survey the largest analysis of its kind, according to those who conducted it — more than a quarter of the respondents (4,872) came from the United States.
Most women reported they were first harassed during or before puberty. About 77% of U.S. women under 40 said they had been followed by a man or group of men in the past year and were made to feel unsafe. The effects of catcalling, groping, fondling and being followed resulted in numerous behavioral changes: 7.5% of American respondents said they had missed school or skipped classes as a result of harassment.
Another 57.4% said street harassment distracted them at school or work.
Nearly 36% said harassment made them move homes, or want to do so.